My plans usually fall through but I make omelets out of broken eggs and I just make due. I’ve never been to a state fair and this year that’s going to change. Music, bad food and, um, more bad food. I’m totally in.
I’ve been sitting here listening to the new album Darkness Rains (Suicide Squeeze) by L.A.’s Death Valley Girls pretty much all day today, and I’ll probably be listening to it all weekend. It isn’t because I think the band’s sophomore album is just an over-the-top, fantastic piece of work, but rather because what they do I find fascinating. Why? Well, I’m glad you stopped to question me because I haven’t really thought much of it.
The Death Valley Girls aren’t strictly “girls,” keeping the co-ed spectrum intact here. So I guess I can say “mostly girls?” Not that I fall in line with a deep & toxic vision of male masculinity. Just calling it as I see it. But DVG seems to stick their feet in the muck of multiple genres, eschewing conformity for originality. Are they wallowing in darkness? Does the band kick out heavy guitar riffs or do they let psychedelic elements enter and exit at will? Well, there’s no direct path DVG takes, as the carnival of large riffs blast out of speakers, much like “Disaster (Is What We’re After),” with its demanding guitar riffage. But vocalist Bonnie Bloomgarden seems to direct the rest of the band here with her intense vocal display while horns blare away heading in varied directions. But it all seems to magically work well pieced together. The band does seem to work well together drenching songs in darkness and there are some moments where a melody can hypnotize one, like me, making you the band’s distinctive pet subjecting it to its will. “Wear Black” is that moment. You’ll find yourself at the band’s mercy and once it’s over, feel like the cheap dirty whore I am. Um, I mean you. But it’s engulfing, captivating with every note.
But the band doesn’t simply move in one motion, the songs are differential and distinct. “Abre Camino” for example, slows the pace down as the group’s power can be felt with multiple vocals sung in unison as the steady beat and psyched-out guitars burst in at a moment’s notice. There’s a lot going on within the confines of Darkness Reins so maybe my previous comment about the fantastical aspects of the album was way off. “Born Again and Again” is odd and engaging while on “Street Justice” you can feel the band’s power from beginning to end! Damn it, this band has made a fan of me here and when “TV in Jail on Mars” comes on, I’m completely in. There isn’t any fault in the band’s sound throughout the album and that’s not an easy feat to accomplish. Exclamation point (!) noted.